Tina's Athletic Wheelchair

Tina (Godfrey) Hurley is an Exercise Physiologist and Physician Assistant by profession. She is also someone largely defined by her physicality as a former gymnast, division 1 collegiate cheerleading athlete, cheerleading coach/ choreographer, personal trainer and competitive CrossFit athlete. Four years ago, her life changed after being diagnosed with a rare condition affecting the blood flow to her legs called Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome.

In late adolescence, Tina began to experience calf cramping and foot numbness when she jogged. These symptoms progressed to the point where walking became difficult in her late 20s. It got so severe she became unable to walk at work, around the block with her dog or up stairs due to L>R leg pain due to inadequate blood flow. Over the course of the past 3.5 years Tina has been to several New England Hospitals, seen over a dozen vascular and orthopedic specialists, consulted with vascular physicians out west who write the research on this condition and initially underwent 9 invasive vascular surgeries on her left leg that all unsuccessfully remedied her disability. Ultimately, she made the difficult decision to amputate her left leg in an effort to regain some quality of life. July 28, 2016 she underwent her first left below-knee amputation and experienced a very complicated hospital course due to neurogenic spasms of her calf and ultimately a fall which pulverized the delicate tissue flap that had been created. Six weeks later she had to undergo an extensive soft tissue debridement of her residual limb leading to an ongoing wound requiring significant care including thrice weekly wound vacuum changes and weekly debridement at a wound care center. The wound persisted for 7 months at which time a complete revision was recommended due to ongoing pain and inability to progress with prosthetic. March 1, 2017 the first revision was undertaken. Afterwards she was hospitalized for pneumonia with sepsis leading to a prolonged recovery during which time her incision ruptured, resulting in another significant wound. After months of recovery, the wound healed but left a disfigured stump again resulting in ongoing pain and inability to progress with prosthetics. After seeking multiple opinions, it was deemed that a second revision was needed. October 5, 2017 her entire amputation was redone; this was surgery #13 and amputation #3.

Her residual limb is healing well after the most recent surgery but unfortunately, from 16 months of crutching and using only her right leg, the symptoms in her right leg have progressed. It has been recommended that she try to atrophy her right leg by minimizing its activity the best she can, as any activity that squeezes her right calf ends up progressing her disease faster.

As if the aforementioned medical challenges weren’t enough, she has suffered a number of parallel tragedies… her husband left her, forcing her to sell her home and rehome her two beloved dogs. She was also recently laid off from her job in the midst of a massive workforce reduction.

Despite all the setbacks over the past 4 years, particularly the last year, she has stayed positive thanks to an indomitable spirit, amazing community and one constant that she has continued to remain passionate about… CrossFit. Tina has participated in numerous adaptive competitions over the past year, qualifying for WheelWod Nationals (a parallel to the Crossfit games), Wounded Warrior Spartan Games and Wodapalooza. The latter competition is in January 2108 in Miami. Due to continued deterioration of her right leg and ongoing left leg recovery, Tina is in need of an athletic wheelchair to continue to participate in the sport she loves. These custom wheelchairs are expensive, as are the competition related travel/accommodations.

The road ahead is tenuous and right leg surgeries are due to commence when her left leg stabilizes. Let’s help keep her spirits up by offsetting the costs of her wheelchair and participation in upcoming adaptive CrossFit competitions!! Thank you for taking time to read this story… please consider contributing by sharing this page or donating.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Michelle Vaira 
Organizer
Sandown, NH
Christina Godfrey 
Beneficiary
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